Monday 16 July 2018

Trump's boardroom techniques would be no help in ending Stormont standoff - Varadkar

Several recent US presidents used their influence to help broker peace deals in Northern Ireland

(PA)
(PA)

Deborah McAleese

Donald Trump's famed boardroom negotiating techniques would be no help in reaching a deal to resolve Northern Ireland's political crisis, the Taoiseach has said.

While several recent US presidents used their influence to help broker peace deals in Northern Ireland, Leo Varadkar has ruled out the current incumbent playing a useful role.

Referring to Mr Trump's business advice book, The Art Of The Deal, Mr Varadkar said: "I have read The Art Of The Deal and the basic concept behind that is 'a good deal is when I win and you lose'. That's not the kind of deal that is going to work in Northern Ireland."

The Taoiseach added: "So while President Trump has many enormous talents and abilities, I don't think bringing about peace in Northern Ireland would be his skill set.

"But certainly we are always open to assistance from the US."

Northern Ireland has effectively been without a devolved government for a year.

Its institutions collapsed amid a bitter row between former powersharing partners the DUP and Sinn Fein about a botched green energy scheme.

The late deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, stood down in protest over the DUP's handling of an investigation into the scandal, in a move that triggered a snap election in March.

A number of attempts to restore powersharing following that poll foundered, with several deadlines for a deal having already been missed.

Mr Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney hope to meet Stormont's political leaders over the next few weeks as part of renewed efforts to resolve the powersharing crisis.

The Taoiseach said last month that he would make a fresh bid to help forge a deal in January, but insisted the only two options if talks fail would be to call another Assembly election or convene the British-Irish Inter-Governmental Conference (BIIGC).

He said the government expects to have "real and meaningful involvement" if talks to save powersharing fail.

However, DUP leader Arlene Foster has dismissed the BIIGC as a "talking shop".

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